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UNL offers practicum on ranching, range management

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln ranching practicum will bring boots-on-the-ground science to progressive ranchers. The year-long course at the Gudmundsen Sandhills Laboratory will provide hands-on, practical education.

If you run across an old-time who’s willing to pass on a bit of wisdom, it’s good to pay attention. One of the tidbits you might pick up could be this: You can never know too many people or learn too much about how to run a ranch.

That’s the idea behind the 2015 Nebraska Ranch Practicum, offered by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. It’s structured to give ranchers cutting edge research in range livestock production, with natural resources, livestock management and economic reality integrated throughout the practicum.

During the three-season UNL Extension class, participants have the opportunity to expand their knowledge with an overview of ranching practices from new angles.  Throughout the program, participants will cover a variety of topics including the effective use of decision support tools to evaluate management and marketing alternatives, plant identification, range conditions and grazing strategies, wildlife management, evaluation of cow body condition scores and beef cattle production systems.

Classroom activities will open and close the practicum in North Platte with the remainder of the classes conducted at UNL’s Gudmundsen Sandhills Laboratory, a working ranch with education and research facilities, near Whitman.  The 12,800 acre ranch provides hands-on experience to ranchers.  Practicum dates are June 10 and 11, July 9, September 9 and 10, and November 5, 2015, and January 6 and 7, 2016 for the eight-session class.  Scheduling of the sessions from June to January is designed to cover the production cycle of both livestock and forage resources.

The 2015 Nebraska Ranch Practicum can count for college or continuing education credit.  Participants looking to earn credits should make arrangements during the initial session.

Applications are due May 1, 2015 with a $250 deposit.  The registration fee for this eight-session practicum is $675.  No applications will be accepted after May 1.  Fees for a spouse are $350.  All educational materials, noon meals and breaks are included.  Participants are responsible for travel and lodging expenses.

Enrollment is limited to 35, and applicants will be notified of their status no later than May 22.  Deposits will be refunded if space is not available.  Participants must pay the balance of the registration fee by June 10.

For applications or additional information, contact Brent Plugge at 308-236-1235, e-mail or visit the practicum website at

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